Sound&Colors/Presence Audio Conseil had put together a suitably high-end set-up, unsurprisingly laced with products familiar from Magico presentations past. Principle source was an Antipodes Audio Oladra server fed an MSB Select DAC and Digital Director. Amplification was supplied by Pilium, their Olympus pre-amp partnered by a pair of huge Atlas mono-blocs. There was an analogue source too, a TechDAS AirForce 3P, with a Graham arm and TechDAS TDC-01Ti cartridge, feeding a Soulution 755 phono-stage. The system was supported on Magico’s M Racks and a combination of their Q Pods and Critical Mass Centre Stage II footers. All cabling was Crystal Cable Da Vinci, but in some ways, the most intriguing ancillary components were tucked away behind the racks and well out of sight. I wasn’t surprised to see the Telos Silver Grounding Monster. I was surprised to see, sat beside it, the Telos Power Monster – which I guess does the same thing for the AC supply that the Grounding Monster does for the signal/chassis grounds. If it works as well as its partner piece, it could/should be very interesting indeed.
Looking at that lot, it’s clear that this was a thoughtfully and carefully curated system – which was just as well. All it takes is a single track, even part of a single track, to appreciate that the M7 is an astonishingly honest and revealing transducer. Not brutally so, in the style of so many speakers that wear their ‘accuracy’ on their sonic sleeves, but utterly faithful to the recording – and the source component playing it. Rarely have I heard the qualitative difference between files, their levels of inherent, intra-spatial grain and background noise, so clearly revealed. Never have I heard the character and qualities of the MSB DAC rendered so obviously apparent. Which is another way of saying that I’m utterly confident that the M7 will be equally faithful to whatever you put upstream of it, whether that’s a Wadax Reference set, or a Grand Prix Audio Monaco and CH Precision P10. This speaker won’t sit on, constrain or hold back your source components, or the recordings you play on them. In fact, they’ll probably sound more like themselves than ever before. It won’t sprinkle hundreds and thousands on your sonic doughnut, but it won’t steal the chili from your smashed avocado either.
Listening to the M7, despite high expectations, I wasn’t disappointed. This speaker delivers exactly what I always wanted from Magico. It’s beautifully integrated and incredibly linear, especially through the low frequencies. Its energy spectrum is remarkably even, bringing a consistent sense of body and presence to instruments, irrespective of nature or pitch and with that comes the sense of balance within the music and between the different instruments, that is so crucial to the sense of ensemble, of collective creation. Harpsichord continuo was a special joy. So often relegated to a vaguely irritating irrelevance that tinkles away in the background, behind the ‘real’ musical action, the M7’s restored not only the strings, musical body, dimensionality and complex brilliance to the instrument, they restored it to its proper place, underpinning the music as a whole. It’s called continuo for a reason; the M7s made that reason beautifully, musically apparent. But what was even more impressive was the speakers to add the double basses below that, their notes floating on a cushion of air, just as they do live, without swamping or muddling the harpsichord’s new-found sense of body and substance.